Learning new leadership and management skills is an everyday thing for executives. One such example is leading with support of mobile phones and personal digital assistants. But many are slow in embracing social and mobile as vital business tool. In the same away as older generations were slow in adopting PC and Internet 20 years ago. A new form of networked leadership is emerging where your ability to leverage new communication tools is vital. This development area will take your leadership into this new networked domain.
Your ability to create a professional impact has developed in the following main steps during your career:
- As an individual contributor early in your career, your own capabilities determined your output.
- As a manager leading a team, your output came from how well your team performed.
- As a senior manager, you went on to influence outside your own team to create results.
This three step model work well to describe how we manage and leverage people we have meet in real life. Digital communication in this context is about enhancing a relationship created face-to-face. The influencing part is hard as it is in real life. Networked leadership is about how to expand your sphere of influence beyond people you have met. Your goal is to start influence people you only have a digital relationship to. I would describe this as the fourth step in the evolution of your leadership ability. One to create influence and generate results on an even higher level in the networked domain.
Networked leadership is growing in importance and the following are vital drivers in pushing the envelope:
- Your customers do more and more research in the digital domain, before the initial contact with your company. You need to start influencing them earlier.
- Thought leadership is becoming more and more important across all networked industry segments. , Your ability to lead these efforts is vital to your future business success.
- A digital market place allows for collaborations in new ways between your company and your partners. You need to make yourself visible to, and search for collaboration partners in new ways.
- The barriers between departments in your organization are coming down. Your sphere of internal influence will move into the digital domain in this model.
- Your marketing will shift towards and inbound centric model and your customers pull from you more than you push to them.
- Your customers will trust you and your employees more than they trust your brand.
- You win and lose customers based on how well you help them.
Executives do not need to master all the details, but enough to lead an organization in a networked world.
Good questions to ask yourself and your organization could be:
- How valuable is networked neadership skills in my current role? – Tie this to where you are in the transformation cycle to become networked/digital/smart.
- Which spheres could I reach with digital influence? – As well as the reverse where will your digital influences come from.
- What does it take me to lead my networked / digital initiatives in an effective way? – You might be the reason your team is not embracing the new paradigm.
The following reading is good as a platform in understanding this new shift:
- The rise of the Chief Digital Officer [BLOG] – by Russell Reynolds Associates (@RRAonLeadership)
- Business leaders embrace digital [ARTICLE] – by Financial Times (@FinancialTimes)
- Digital Leader: 5 Simple keys to success and influence [BOOK] – by Erik Qualman (@equalman)
- The social organization: How to use social media to tap the collective genius of your customers and employees [BOOK] – by Anthony J. Bradley (@BradleyAnthonyJ) and Mark P. McDonald (@MarkPMcDonald)
- Return on Influence: The revolutionary power of Klout, Social Scoring and Influence marketing [eBOOK] – Mark W. Scheafer (@MarkWSchaefer)
I hope you are inspired to start driving your networked leadership development and to follow this black track of the digital mentor program targeting senior leaders. Follow the conversation on twitter @TweeterLinder and the hashtags #DigitalMentor #ExecutivesSeniorLeaders
One thought on “Networked leadership – Vital skillset for 21st century executives”
It is very important as you mentioned to develop digital communication skills when networking either with your employees, co-workers or customers. An important concept here is that Digital communication can be a very helpful aid to clearly and more comfortable send your thoughts across. It also gives people the advantage to network without the time, peer or social pressure and it is also worthy to mention that it is much more effective simply because you can reach multiple “potential” customers with the same message or blog. It is our responsibility to read, practice and network more “digitally” with people to grow those critical skills.